The Warrior Queen

*** Tamworth Castle is temporarily closed ***

I think we’re already looking forward to the summer months when we can emerge, Hobbit-like, from our isolation hideaways and greet friends we’ve only communicated with on Facebook since March. And there’s lots to look forward to. So take a break from stacking the pasta cupboard and start dreaming of a bit of Anglo-Saxon history, or real life The Last Kingdom if you’re Netflix bod.

Summer 2020 sees Tamworth Castle in Staffordshire  unveil a new state-of-the-art gallery celebrating the town’s Anglo-Saxon history – including a forgotten warrior queen, Aethalflaed. This new permanent exhibition aims to explore and celebrate Tamworth’s important Anglo-Saxon history, battles, monarchy and the warrior culture in Anglo-Saxon Mercia

Aethelflaed(pronounced Eth-al-fled), the daughter of Alfred the Great, ruled the Kingdom of Mercia for seven years from 911 to 918. She was described by a later chronicler as “a woman of enlarged soul” and was clearly an extraordinary person. She sent armies to fight against the Danelaw imposed by the Vikings and captured Derby and Leicester from them in 917 and early 918.

Also known as the ‘Lady of the Mercians’ she leaves a legacy as an independent women who broke the glass ceiling and became one of the most powerful figures of her time. She died at Tamworth, which she had fortified along with Stafford, Runcorn, Warwick and others, in 918. Today, the Aethelflaeda Monument stands at the foot of Tamworth Castle just through the Gatehouse.

The new ‘Battle and Tribute’ gallery, opening this summer, features hands-on interactive exhibits and cutting-edge audio-visual technology, as well as gorgeous pieces of the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork yet found.

So, dream on and make plans. Dream of Vikings and Saxons and misty woods and fields. Dream of Aethelflaed and Alfred and look forward to visiting. But not just yet…

Al Barker/Abbe Bates  13/3/20